The Supreme Court finally released their rulings related to same-sex marriage today, and what a relief it was! A relief, because my fear was that there would be yet another decision affecting the entire nation, bypassing our lawmaking process.
Briefly, part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down. Now any state-recognized married couple can receive the federal ‘benefits’ of being married. Then, to my surprise, the Proposition 8 case was dismissed entirely, being sent back to California for them to decide.
Some might say gay rights activists won today. Others might say judicial activism won, but I say, the States won.
Let the States decide
Both of these cases leave power in the hands of the states – where it should be. If you ask me about any controversial topic in politics, my answer is very likely going to be, “Let the states decide.” In fact, one of my favorite quotes (of myself) is, “Let the states decide. What was the question?” I honestly believe most of our country’s polarized political issues could be quelled, if not solved, by giving power back to the states to make their own decisions. (Though, that should actually be accomplished by state governments taking a stand for themselves, but alas, this topic deserves a post of its own.)
By striking part of DOMA, the federal government is now forced to accept the decision of thirteen states to recognize same-sex marriage. Now, I don’t personally recognize the union because of religious reasons, but I also don’t live in the Baptist Republic of North America. As far as I’m concerned, and have explained at large, it isn’t really that big of a deal to me whether or not my government considers a gay marriage legitimate. I have far more important things to worry about; good libertarian rants like bulldozing government roads, or legalizing prostitution. Okay, just kidding.
Audit the Federal Reserve Bank and I’ll call it a day.
Then the other decision, on Proposition 8, basically leaves California to itself. Chief Justice Roberts actually said, “We have no authority to decide this case.” Justice Antonin Scalia challenged whether the court had any jurisdiction to rule on DOMA as well.
Runner-up: free markets
Another sure winner today was the free market. Notice neither of these rulings involved mandating you buy broccoli in order to stay healthy and qualify for Obamacare? It’s not like that couldn’t have happened. We easily could have seen a wide-sweeping decision that required churches to
In a chat I had today with an insurance agent, I learned that Liberty Mutual has already been covering same-sex couples as though they were married. Imagine that, without any magistrate breathing down its throat, the free market took care of a social situation on its own.
So many people only know one option for social change: totalitarian control, yet here we see light in the darkness. In case you’ve never been exposed to this radical idea, let me explain it. Before the Emancipation Proclamation, not only was not every African-American a slave, there was half of an entire country that did not allow slavery to exist at all! This may come as a shock, but it’s true. Even before the Mason-Dixon line was established, dating back to days prior to statehood at all, the colonies did not all employ slavery. These political entities were not united yet, except in their ties to Great Britain. As they came together to form the United States, they did not all agree on many important issues.
How in the world did they manage to form a union with such drastic differences? Governments in various places differed greatly, but one commonality allowed them to work together; sovereignty. As a matter of fact, this idea permeates our Constitution, and is specifically explained in the Tenth Amendment.
Allow me to leave you with a closing thought from my favorite YouTube video-making, hyperbole-employing libertarian personality, Julie Borowski:
This is a valid point that some people are making: No one technically has to get government’s permission or fill out a government marriage license to get married. Any two people (or more whatever floats their boat, I guess) can have a wedding ceremony and call/declare themselves married. Of course, their marriage won’t be recognized by the government which means they can’t get government marriage “benefits” and “privileges”. The real debate is about *who* should be able to get the government marriage benefits: Straight couples only? Gay couples too? As I said in my earlier status, we need to better develop and articulate plans to detach (or get rid of) government benefits tied to legal marriage.